St. Paul man charged with attempted murder of Minneapolis police officers

    Photo by Tony Webster.

    A St. Paul man was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, assault, armed riot and a weapons violation in connection with a Saturday night after-curfew encounter with police.

    Jaleel Kevin Stallings, 27, approached Minneapolis police officers conducting a patrol along East Lake Street on May 30 around 10:54 p.m., according to a criminal complaint, following what police noted were a combination of peaceful protests and property destruction that arose when video surfaced showing a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee on the neck of the handcuffed and unarmed George Floyd, killing him. 

    As others ran away from officers Saturday night, Stallings walked toward them from behind a pick-up truck near 15th Avenue South, crouched down as if to pick up something, and officers — concerned about a rock or debris being thrown at them — shot a less-lethal round at the man, the complaint alleges.

    An unidentified officer then saw three to four muzzle flashes from Stallings’ chest, and a round ricocheted in front of officers, leading other officers to believe the officer had been hit, the complaint says. 

    “Officers treated this as a deadly force situation as they believed Stallings was still armed and could kill them,” the complaint says. Officers kicked Stallings during the arrest, and an AK-47 pistol was found near the truck Stallings was hiding behind, according to charges. 

    The arrest came during a time of civil unrest in Minneapolis, two nights after the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct and businesses in the East Lake Street area were burned down. A metro-wide curfew had been in place since 8:00 p.m.

    Police arrested two others in connection with the incident, who may have simply been bystanders during a night of many arrests, but were nevertheless held on suspicion of riot and referred to as Stallings’ co-defendants, according to court records.

    Kearsten Wallin of St. Paul told police she was in the area to assist with cleanup efforts and was waiting for a ride home, and Virgil Jackson Jr. was in the area to protect his Lake Street business, court documents say. 

    Both Wallin and Jackson gave in-custody statements to police that they heard the gunfire and ran or hid from it, adding that they did not know Stallings, the complaint says. But the complaint suggests they were both “involved in this incident.”

    Wallin and Jackson were released from the Hennepin County Jail on Tuesday afternoon, and have not been charged with any crime. Police said complaint filings would be coming for both.

    Stallings asked officers if anyone had been killed and was told no during an interview, police say, before asking for a lawyer.

    Police say the officers had their body cameras activated, and that it captured the incident. Stallings’ bail has been set at $500,000.